Extreme Newbie...

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

neverbeblind

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Hey,

So I have read a book about home brewing and watched a few videos and asked a friend or 2 that have done it before and became interested in starting to brew my own beer. I went to a local store but it was small and extremely expensive, and literally no one there to help (maybe the only good thing would be the ingredients, which I am not ready for yet) so I started to look for an online forum. I've decided to buy a starter kit online and was curious for some help on not only what website or websites you think I should order from, but any information would help on getting started. Just looking for a basic process for the first batch, and I will get more advance from there. We all have to start somewhere I am sure you all went through the same beginners process.

Thanks in advance.
 

avidhomebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Messages
2,553
Reaction score
28
I'm not in the situation you are when it comes to LHBS; mine has everything (almost) I could want and the ingredients are fresh. Anyways, that doesn't help you. I've seen a lot of posts about NORTHERN BREWER, maybe Defalcos Home Wine and Beer Supplies. I've had good luck with Coopers and Munton's based kits (the extract is made by these companies). I've also made many True Brew kits over the years and they all turn out good.
 
OP
N

neverbeblind

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Wow, yea morebeer it is...I might get the glass carboy though instead of just the plastic. Also FYI, that was the book I read first, very knowledgeable. Anything else I should order with that kit you think?
 

Austinhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Messages
2,332
Reaction score
78
It would be pretty hard to beat morebeer. $69 for their kit, and free shipping MoreBeer | Standard Starter System

As for getting started I would reccomend picking up "The Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian, or just check out How to Brew - By John Palmer
I think I can beat it.
Click here: Austin Homebrew Supply
This is a much better kit for the money. The difference in cappers is worth it alone. The much bigger primary is important. I would recommend the Palmer book "How to Brew" The Papazian book is a quarter century old and the recipes are awful.

Forrest
 

kaptain_karma

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2005
Messages
304
Reaction score
1
Location
San Francisco
Austin Homebrew and Northern Brewer are both great merchants. They are the only two I've used (aside from LHBS), but I've been very satisfied with both.

As far as texts go, Palmer is your best bet for up-to-date procedures, but Papazian is worth checking out for his laid-back friendly style. Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.
 

Ooompa Loompa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
Messages
531
Reaction score
5
Location
Colorado
Well, I'll definately give you that your kit is higher quality Forrest. I was speaking strictly from a cost standpoint.

As far as your suggestion of How To Brew over the Joy of Homebrewing I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree. Yes Papazian's books is dated, but I find it much more enjoyable and interesting to read then How to Brew. I will admit I've never tried Papazian's or Palmer's recipes though, so I can't really comment on those.
 
OP
N

neverbeblind

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
So heres a question...I looked at the 2 sites and noticed that the both have the option to add the glass carboy. I dont mind spending the money on it if it is nessecary, what do you think, should I get a glass carboy and what are the advantages to having one over just the plastic? (I'm leaning towards getting it just want some feedback). Also just curious, do you guys end up keggin your beer or bottling them?
 
OP
N

neverbeblind

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Also...any suggestions on the first ingredients package I should get. This will be my first time so I dont want to do something extremely challenging and have a horrible batch come out. Any suggestions on what to order and where to get it, if not LHBS, online?
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,923
Reaction score
12,807
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
So heres a question...I looked at the 2 sites and noticed that the both have the option to add the glass carboy. I dont mind spending the money on it if it is nessecary, what do you think, should I get a glass carboy and what are the advantages to having one over just the plastic? (I'm leaning towards getting it just want some feedback). Also just curious, do you guys end up keggin your beer or bottling them?

A glass carboy is nice to have, but I rarely use them any more for beer. If I make a lager, though, I use it. You may want to think about getting it in the future, if you're unsure if you want to use it. I keg my beer, but bottled the first 200 or so batches. Kegging is definitely easier and more convenient, but I wasn't sure that I was going to stick with the hobby, and then finances got in the way of buying my kegging gear. (I won the football pool here last year, and used the winnings to buy the kegging gear.)

Also...any suggestions on the first ingredients package I should get. This will be my first time so I dont want to do something extremely challenging and have a horrible batch come out. Any suggestions on what to order and where to get it, if not LHBS, online?
ANY extract ale kit with steeping grains should be fine. If you look at the austinhomebrew.com site, they have a ton of kits. Some are clone recipes, and some are style recipes. They also have very good instructions, so that's a good place to start. Stay away from lagers for the first time, that's the only caution I have. Pick a beer you like, and make it!
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
12,264
Reaction score
732
So heres a question...I looked at the 2 sites and noticed that the both have the option to add the glass carboy. I dont mind spending the money on it if it is nessecary, what do you think, should I get a glass carboy and what are the advantages to having one over just the plastic? (I'm leaning towards getting it just want some feedback). Also just curious, do you guys end up keggin your beer or bottling them?
Always buy the best. You will want it later. Buying it early on will save money in the long run. For your first brew I would get an ale that ferments at around 70 degrees. They are more forgiving of early mistakes, and just a lot easier in general than lagers or high gravity beers. They will also be ready to drink sooner, eliminating the impatience factor. :)
 

Ol' Grog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2006
Messages
1,035
Reaction score
3
Location
Chickasha, OK.
Not trying to sound rude, but spend a little more time in the engine search. A lot of your questions can be answered, grasshopper. There were big discussions on glass versus plastic, but in a nutshell, use plastic for the primary and glass for the secondary, or carboy. But know one thing, there are literally thousands of ways and methods you can use to make your brew, and it will still be good. It depends on the space you have, where you brew, how dedicated you are to the craft, etc. etc. A lot of us started off bottling, and then jumped to kegging. Fact is, bottling is a pain in the arshe. Lots of extra work and cleaning involved, not to mention all the bottles and having space to store them. Kegging greatly simplifies that. I'm going to tell you what I did and what I wish I would have done when I started brewing two years ago. Remember, this is my method and style and can be critiqued, but I didn't do so bad at the annual homebrewers competition and could have done better if I'd pay attention to the style instead of my taste.
I'm doing extracts, which I'd say 90% of us started off this way. A lot say all-grain is the way to go, but if you like your brew a certain way, then by all means, brew what you like.
I started off with a kit, two cases of bottles, plastic primary and glass secondary with all the other stuff needed. After about 4 brews of bottling, I quickly looked into kegging and decided that is the way I'm going to go. I only bottle when I'm wanting to enter a contest or know when I'll have some friends over.
Now, this is now and I'm giving you the benefit of my experience, I wish I would have started off kegging with only the primary. You can keg with either partial or full boils. For full boils, that's more expense, but some say the brew taste better.
First, I made a decision to myself that I was going to brew my beer, no matter what it taste like or how much work was involved. Second, forgo some of the initial expense and purchase a kegging system. That is the Sanyo 4912 refrigerator, 4 kegs, CO2 tank, regulator, a splitter off the regulator (for two kegs at once in the kegerator off of one CO2 tank) two check shut off valve, hoses, back up parts like seals, springs, hoses, etc. etc. For the actual brewing part of it, I should have got a primary with lid, racking hoses and cane and a thermometer. Notice you see no secondary, I don't use secondaries any longer. From reading on here, the secondary purpose is for clarification and maybe for adding some different flavors, but that's about it. It doesn't bother me if my brew is not crystal clear because the cloudiness is the yeast and some styles, like the hefe's, require that to be part of them....which is my favorite style anyway.
I either partial or full boil, I have both setups, but then after chilling (either use the ice water straight into the wort method, or put ice around the boiling pot and place in sink) dump into primary. Once it's cool to the touch, then simply sprinkle the yeast on top, seal it up and let it sit for two weeks. From there, rack into the keg. Seal it up and add some CO2 to it to get the air out, and then let it sit for 3 to 4 weeks. Put keg in kegerator with CO2 gas for about a week, then serve. The first 6 ounces or so will be really murky, that's from all the extra stuff falling out of suspension, what the secondary does, dump that glass out and then drink on. Like I said, a lot of members here will tear up this methodology, but it works fine for me. All my friends that have tried my brews really like them.
I've had really good things to say about Austin HomeBrew. I use their gold seal extract kits and they have all been really good. I also use Brewer's Best kits, they are excellent, but getting expensive.
 

Homercidal

Licensed Sensual Massage Therapist.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
33,310
Reaction score
5,717
Location
Reed City, MI
Lots of good advice here. First thing you will need to do is decide how much $$ you can spend to get started. I agree that Kegging is a much easier route to go, and you can always bottle from a keg if you want to (search biermunchers bottle gun thread). However, I understand that even if the desire to brew is strong, the wallet might not always be. I would estimate that even if you looked for second-hand equipment as much as possible, you aren't likely to get into kegging for less than $300, and likely more.

Therefore, while bottling CAN be a PITA, it's certainly a viable route. To start with, though, I'd concentrate on the brewing itself, including understanding sanitation most importantly. You can almost always find old beer bottles to use if you look hard enough. In Michigan I can go almost anywhere and purchase returnables bottles for a dime apiece (deposit cost). Although you will certainly exert some effort in cleaning them, it's a time vs money thing.

There are lots and lots of ways to make beer, and only a few hard and fast rules to follow. Do searches, read howtobrew.com, ask questions, and have fun. If you like it, soon you will be overflowing with bottles and dreaming about that kegerator!
 

DutchK9

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
368
Reaction score
2
Location
Springfield, Illinois
Spend the money on the best starter equipment at first, then buy your kegging equipment. You will wish you bought quality stuff after making several batches.

Also on Austins website they have a favorite list of beer kits. Check it out, it might help make your decision.

Austin Homebrew Supply
 
OP
N

neverbeblind

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
This is all great information to get me started. Thanks alot guys, now I just need to do it, I will let you know how it goes.
 
Top